CBI stresses importance of US and EU ties for British businesses

IN: Business news

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has claimed it is vital for the UK to encourage closer ties with the US and EU to give the economy a boost.

In a message delivered ahead of the New Year, CBI director-general John Cridland stressed the importance of a free-trade agreement between the US and the EU that would help to stimulate long-term growth in the UK.

Small and medium-sized enterprises can make gains by looking across the pond for export opportunities, so better business relations with America would certainly help many companies to achieve success. 

Mr Cridland said: "The best way of creating jobs, promoting investment and stimulating growth is by eliminating the tariffs and harmonising the regulation which holds back businesses on both sides of the Atlantic."

He added that business bosses would want to see this happen in the first 100 days of president Barack Obama's second term in office, because otherwise leaders might "turn around in four or five years' time and regret not seizing this massive opportunity".

The CBI pointed to a number of barriers that are currently hindering business growth, but which could be removed to improve trade between the US and the EU.

Logistics companies operating in the EU have to handle 27 different customs processes and costs, which could be slowing down transactions and eating into their profits.

Mr Cridland continued: "The US wants the big prize - access to a market of 500 million customers across the EU, not just 60 million on our own shores."

As such, he claimed the EU must be the "launchpad" for British businesses to trade internationally and "carve out a new global role". 

Estimates from the International Monetary Fund suggest the economy will grow by 1.1 per cent in 2013, with global growth expected to reach 3.6 per cent. 

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